It’s full snow ahead for Apex through the new restrictions.
Despite the bans and other changes set to take effect on Nov. 20, “It’s not going to impact us that much, because all those restrictions that came down are already things we were doing,” said Apex Mountain Resort general manager James Shalman.
“It helps us reinforce what our COVID policies are.”
Those restrictions include mandatory masks in public indoor spaces, no events or social gatherings with people outside of one’s household, non-essential travel not being recommended and no spectators at sports games.
In addition, the new order bans travel for athletes who would have otherwise left their community, although it does not apply to high-performance athletes who were already training.
Despite the slopes not being open to the public, several teams, including the BC Freestyle team, are already practicing at Apex.
Several mountains in the Lower Mainland have already begun limiting access to only locals, although that is not something that Shalman is worried about yet.
“We aren’t open yet, and we won’t open until Dec. 5, which is when the travel restrictions are supposed to come off. We kind of get going in the middle of December.
The current set of restrictions are set to expire on Dec. 7, although that may be extended if the number of daily COVID-19 cases doesn’t decrease. If that’s the case, the resort is expecting their non-local riders
“If I was to put a number on it, they would be 35 to 40 per cent of our business. It would be a pretty serious impact,” said Shalman. “If you look at the larger resorts, like Silver Star or Whistler, they do so much on an international scale that this will affect them way more.”
Instead, Shalman thinks that a more dedicated focus on the riders in the area could help weather the loss of travellers from outside the Okanagan.
“If those travel restrictions remain in place then our locals are going to benefit from having their own ski area cater just to them,” said Shalman. “Essentially, our locals are going to be geographically locked here, and they can spend more time and energy partaking in skiing and snowboarding here, because there’s not much else to do in the winter.”
It wouldn’t make up for the entire loss, but Shalman said he hopes that in the case the restrictions continue that the locals could reduce the impact down to 20 to 30 percent.
Regardless of what happens, locals will be able to look forward to plenty of great snow up on the mountain. With the cold temperatures and wet air, the resort has been able to run their snow-making cannons at full blast from the top of the mountain all the way down to the bottom.
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